x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Dubai to make blood-diamond smuggling harder

Security is to be stepped up at Dubai International Airport as the emirate cracks down on so-called "blood-diamond" smugglers.

Miners dig for diamonds in Marange, Zimbabwe. AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi
Miners dig for diamonds in Marange, Zimbabwe. AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Security is to be stepped up at Dubai International Airport as the emirate cracks down on so-called "blood-diamond" smugglers.

Dubai's diamond trade has soared in recent years, growing from between US$2 million (Dh7.34m) and $3m up to 2002 to about $40 billion last year.

Growth in the number of Kimberley Process (KP) Certificates, which certify the origin of rough stones, is expected to increase by 33 per cent this year alone. But an increasing number of visitors to Dubai is creating more demands on authorities.

Dubai Airport handled a record 51 million passengers last year, but expansion plans are likely to increase its capacity to 90 million by 2018.

"We are constantly reviewing our security measures in accordance with international best practice," said Maryam Al Hashemi, the director of UAE's Kimberley Process.

"With this growth in mind, we held a ... working group including Dubai Police and Dubai Customs to discuss various initiatives to boost security by checking and apprehending passengers, prior to boarding, on suspicion of carrying non-KP approved rough diamonds," she added.

The Kimberley Process, which was named after a city in South Africa, was established in 2003 to prevent stones, blood diamonds, used to fund conflict from entering the mainstream market.

The additional security measures build on the framework devised when the Kimberley Process Certificate Scheme was first launched in the UAE in 2003.

 

 

 

 

"We are considering various options and have also put into practice several initiatives to meet attempted smuggling," said Brigadier Pilot Ahmad bin Thani, the director general of the Department of Airport Security in Dubai Police.

"Finding the balance is not an easy task, but we are working diligently to lead that effort. We want to make the UAE one of the most secure countries in the world," he added.

The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority is the only legal entry and exit point for rough diamonds in the UAE.

gduncan@thenational.ae